Saturday, March 19, 2016

The KiwiSDR: An Interesting Work In Progress

A new star on the SDR sky? Who knows, but this Kickstarter project does have some nice twists up its sleeve. Such as a decent 14-bit ADC, ethernet connection, 10 kHz - 30 MHz coverage and a web or cloud solution allowing four simultaneous external users who need no dedicated software. In fact, your favourite internet browser will do. As long as your favourite internet browser is not Internet Explorer. I tested with Chrome and Edge, no problems.

The KiwiSDR sports automatic frequency calibration via GPS timing, a feature I don't think I've seen on inexpensive SDRs before. A facility that could enable some interesting experiements down the road.

The Kiwi SDR is a custom circuit board which needs to be connected to a Beagleboard computer (black or green).

Three prototypes are already accessible via internet, they are located in Sweden, Victoria, Canada and New Zealand. I spent some time with them over the last couple of days, and those who know me will not be surprised to hear that I enjoyed tuning the MW bands in British Columbia and especially New Zealand for the local radio stations. The screenshot below is from the Tauranga, New Zealand receiver.

Tauranga, New Zealand KiwiSDR
At the present stage it is not capable of recording an I/Q sample to disk, hence I don't really see it as a new DX tool for myself. But things could change. It is interesting though if you have some internet capacity available and a good antenna, then you could host four DX-ers listening in at the same time in totally separated channels.

The Kickstarter project for an assembled and boxed SDR board and Beagleboard is USD 299, with scheduled delivery in November. If you already have a Beaglebone, the pledge is USD 199. I set myself up for USD 299, and two days into the 30 day project 20 % of the USD 50,000 goal has been met.

Maybe you should consider a Kiwi?

More as it happens!

1 comment:

Chuck said...

From a MW point of view, I consider their SDR hardware to roughly the equivalent of Perseus, QS1R, Elad, etc. So I am sure it will be OK.

But I can't tell much at all about their software. Not even a mention of what demodulations they do, filter bandwidths, etc. Nor a plan for saving IQ data to disk, timed recordings, etc.

So it's hard for me to believe in the Kiwi yet. Maybe next year.